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Beliefnet News

Religious Groups Mobilize to Aid Japan

(RNS) As the extent of the death and destruction from the massive disaster in Japan comes into focus, religious relief organizations are sending and supporting teams to assess the damage.
Groups such World Vision and Baptist World Aid have teams on the ground determining what kinds of experts and supplies will be needed in the recovery from the earthquake and tsunami that struck Friday (March 11).
Rachel Wolff, a spokeswoman for World Vision, said a relief manager who worked on the scenes of earthquakes in Haiti and Pakistan was stunned by the extent of the destruction.
“He told me that this was unlike anything he’s seen anywhere around the world,” she said.
A team of Baptist World Aid workers from the U.S., Singapore and Hungary have arrived in Japan and others are on stand-by, said Eron Henry, a spokesman for the relief organization of Baptist World Alliance.
By midday Monday, team members had sent photos of scenes from the tsunami’s aftermath, with people housed in shelters and cars covered in water and debris. Henry said the aid organization expects to cooperate with other Baptists organizations in its response.
“We have learned the importance of coordinating a response so that there’s not duplication, so there’s not overlap and no confusion,” he said.
Melissa Hinnen, a spokeswoman for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, said her organization is taking the same approach, though it has been difficult to reach partners many time zones away who already have their hands full.
“We’re just waiting to see what they tell us their needs are,” she said.
Meanwhile, U.S. congregations a world away are starting to do their part to respond to the crisis.
Michael Endo, executive assistant to Bishop Koshin Ogui of the Buddhist Churches of America, was drafting a letter Monday to national leaders about donating to a relief fund for victims of the quake and tsunami.
Some congregations were already making plans to host car washes, bake sales and other events to raise funds for the cause.
“I think people are still trying to take in … how extensive the damage is in Japan, the number of lives lost, the ongoing nuclear problems,” said the Rev. Gerald Sakamoto, minister of the San Jose Buddhist Church, a predominantly Japanese congregation in California.
“There is great empathy for the people of Japan and wanting to do something to help ease the difficulty.”
– ADELLE M. BANKS, Religion News Service

  • Gwyddion9

    I hope that all religious groups that go to Japan to help, actually help rather than see this as another chance to “save” people.
    I’ve found that when some Christian groups go to help, there is always an ulterior motive in said actions and that nothing is truly free.

  • cknuck

    Gwyddion until you get off your duff and do something you add up to just another windbag Christian hater and we can never do enough good to escape your acid tongue. But if you ever got out into the mission fields and worked side by side with some of us you’d find that motives are pure, and in the midst of helping there is little time for sermons.

  • Gwyddion9

    I do help, where I can. In the area I live, The Pagan society helps various charities but a common issue we’ve run into is that many of the charities would like to accept our money and donations but we’re told that if they accept our donations, churches will stop giving donations to them because we’re Pagan…and then in the area a “Christian” pastor make the comment of how “Pagans” don’t help our community.
    I have dear friend who are Christian and I’ve learned to make a distinction between their Christianity and conservative/evangel Christians. The two are dissimilar from one another.
    I’d also would like to add that I’m not a “Christian” hater but lets just say that as far as encounters with conservative/evangel Christians, they’re not on my Christmas card list. I’ve found everyone of them to be rude and self-righteous, thus far, so because of that, i make a distinction between the various Christian groups and have no beef about saying i have no use for them.

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